SBA: New Restaurant Revitalization Fund available for restaurants, bars

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The U.S. Small Business Administration is providing financial relief to eligible restaurants, bars and other establishments affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. (WYDaily/ Courtesy of Unsplash)

NATIONWIDE — From forced shutdowns and staff layoffs to reopening amid new restrictions with social distancing measures, restaurants across the country have been affected by the year-long COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday, April 19, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced more information about a new government relief program: The Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF).

The initiative –– part of the American Rescue Plan signed by President Joe Biden –– created the $28.6 billion fund through the SBA, which the organization will distribute to “the hardest-hit small restaurants,” according to the James City County’s Office of Economic Development news release.

“Today, we are starting the process to help restaurants and bars across the country devastated by the pandemic, and this is our message: Help is here,” said SBA administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. “We’re also focused on ensuring that the RRF program’s application process is streamlined and free of burdensome, bureaucratic hurdles – while still maintaining robust oversight. Under my leadership, the SBA aims to be as entrepreneurial as the entrepreneurs we serve – and that means meeting every small business where they are, and giving them the support they need to recover, rebuild and thrive.”

Other establishments which may qualify for the relief fund include food trucks, caterers, bakeries, breweries, wineries, distilleries and inns. You can see a full list of industries which may qualify for the RRF here.

According to the announcement, the SBA will open the RRF application portal for seven days as part of a pilot program, with outreach training and addressing “technical issues” prior official launch date.

“Participants in this pilot will be randomly selected from existing PPP borrowers in priority groups for RRF and will not receive funds until the application portal is open to the public. Following the pilot, the application portal will be opened to the public,” according to the news release.

In addition, the SBA will prioritize applications from “small businesses owned by women, veterans, and socially and economically disadvantaged individuals” for the first 21 days.”

“Following the 21-day period, all eligible applicants are encouraged to submit applications,” according to the news release. “The groundwork for this announcement is the result of a comprehensive effort to reach out to diverse stakeholders in order to understand the needs and barriers restaurants face in accessing emergency relief aid.”

The application process is currently not open to the public but will be announced at a later date.

For more information such as application requirements and program eligibility, visit the SBA’s website.

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